16. Memorandum From Winston Lord of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • United Nations 25th Anniversary Matters

This will bring you up to date on matters related to the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations and in particular alert you to the problems that have arisen with regard to names for a Presidential Commission.

Presidential Invitations

The President has basically accepted your and Secretary Rogers’ recommendations concerning Presidential activities (Tab A).2 He is declining U Thant’s invitation to a June 29 lunch in New York and Mayor Alioto’s invitation to San Francisco for the commemoration ceremonies June 24–26. He has decided to hold a stag, black-tie dinner, including Congressmen, at the White House for U Thant on the latter’s way to San Francisco on June 24 (you had suggested a lunch or a meeting). Peter Rodman and I are sorting out the various actions required to implement the President’s decisions. With regard to the dinner, Dwight Chapin has asked for a scenario and proposed guest list. We are getting State’s needed [Page 28]help on this by phone only (De Palma), saying that the President’s decision is still tentative and should be closely held. No one is to notify U Thant or anyone else until we have a clearer idea of how the dinner should shape up.

Presidential Commission

You will recall that Ambassador Yost sent you a letter which suggested additions and deletions to the list of Commission candidates that Secretary Rogers proposed; Yost was unhappy with some of the changes in the list that had been made in the political review process at State. Per your instructions, I have taken no action on Ambassador Yost’s suggestions and only sent Mr. Flemming’s office the official names sent over by Rogers. At Tab B is a comparative listing of the Rogers and Yost recommendations.3

In the past week or two Mr. Flemming and, I believe, Mr. Dent and perhaps others have been going over the Rogers list and have come up with a brand new version which is at Tab C.4 I don’t know whether Flanigan has been involved. Almost nothing remains of the Rogers recommendations: 26 of the 32 original names, including proposed Chairman Earl Warren, have been stricken. Flemming’s staff told me that the Rogers list had too many Democrats and tired names, and they were frankly anxious to reward many faithful Republicans and financial contributors. They have thus completely emasculated Rogers’ list and loaded the Commission with people who are either unknown, know little about the UN, or are hostile to it.

Everyone recognizes that some political massaging is required, but the resulting list is disastrous. It has almost no recognized UN experts—yet the Commission must have a hard core of experts if it is to produce substantive proposals for the President in time for a possible September speech at the UN. It is almost totally Republican—yet the United Nations has always been a bipartisan issue in the U.S.

Flemming’s people, without checking with us, put together this list and sent it to State and Yost for their comments. The latter are predictably unhappy. Yost has just appealed to Rogers, who has promised “to do something.”

I have remained completely aloof from this political game, only keeping informed as best I could. I told Flemming’s staff man on a personal basis that his latest list was sure to displease State. And I have made clear to State that you have not been involved and have been out of town much of the time.

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I do not know whether and how you wish to move on this. One outcome could be for State/Yost and the White House political people to hammer out a compromise list which we would then put together with the rest of the package on the Commission to forward to the President. However, you may wish to take a more active role. Rogers may call you in any event. He might even go to the President who, of course, knows only that he has approved the Commission in principle and has asked for names and a scenario.

I see three options:5

Call Rogers or Richardson
Call Flanigan or Flemming
Sit tight until State makes a move

I recommend (1), perhaps followed by (2).

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 297, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. III. Confidential. Sent for action. Copies were sent to Haig, Peter Rodman (without attachments), and William Watts.
  2. Memorandum from Dwight L. Chapin to Kissinger, April 8; attached but not printed.
  3. Tab B is attached but not printed. The list is dated March 25. Yost’s letter to Kissinger is dated March 23.
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. None of the options was checked or initialed.